How Scalp Scrubs Work & The Best To Try

How Scalp Scrubs Work & The Best To Try

Sales of scalp scrubs are up around 300%. Not only do they remove build-up and surface grime, they nourish the skin while encouraging healthy hair growth, too. Here, a consultant trichologist and leading hairdresser explains why they’re so beneficial, and how you can incorporate one into your routine.

Remember, Your Scalp Is Still Skin 

The majority of us know what it takes to leave our faces looking and feeling fresh, nourished and healthy. Our scalps are no different, yet they’re often neglected. Adding a simple scalp scrub to your routine can change all that. Philip Kingsley brand president and consultant trichologist, Anabel Kingsley, explains: “Like the skin on your face, your scalp benefits from gentle weekly exfoliation. Exfoliating masks help to remove dead skin cells and flakes, and can improve the overall health of your scalp.” Over time, regular use of one will help to reduce and calm conditions such as dryness, dandruff, excessive oiliness or irritation. 

There Are Stimulating Benefits

Scalp exfoliation isn’t all about maintaining your skin’s condition – it can also help promote healthy hair growth, too. Leading hairdresser Michael Van Clarke says: “As with the skin on the rest of your body, your scalp contains sebaceous glands that produce sebum (oil). When balanced, sebum can help the hair look soft and shiny, but a build-up of sebum on the scalp can clog the pores and feed the bacteria that lead to dandruff. It can also trigger seborrheic dermatitis which gives angry red patches, itching and flakiness. This clogging of the hair follicles over time can also lead to a thinning and loss of the hair. Exfoliating the scalp keeps both scalp and hair healthy. Some people think washing their hair is enough to keep the scalp clean, but that 30-second shampoo at home may not have much impact on the build-up of sweat, oils, dead cells, and styling products. Periodic exfoliation is necessary to remove this dirt, unclog the pores, and encourage healthy hair growth.”

They’re Easy To Use 

How often you apply a scrub depends on the condition of your scalp, but the process is easy. Once a week is a good rule of thumb. Anabel advises: “If your scalp is flaky or itchy, or you have a sore or dehydrated scalp, use a targeted scalp mask twice a week until symptoms clear. Otherwise, once weekly is enough. In terms of how to use a mask, apply it in one-inch partings from ear to ear. Massage the mask into your scalp for a couple of minutes, being firm yet gentle. Roughly rubbing your scalp can irritate it. You may also end up tangling or breaking strands. Read the directions to check how long to leave your mask on for – generally this is around 10-20 minutes.”

You Need To Find The Right Formula

“The active ingredients in your mask will vary according to whether you are experiencing specific scalp concerns,” explains Anabel. “If you do not have a specific scalp concern, a weekly exfoliating mask is a great way to maintain the health of your scalp. This is especially beneficial if you wash your hair less than four times per week. If your scalp is sore and/or dry, a soothing hydrating scalp mask can really help. Look for one that contains calming ingredients like aloe vera and moisturising olive oil. For a flaky or itchy scalp, use a targeted anti-microbial scalp mask twice a week. Look for one that contains anti-fungal ingredients like exfoliating salicylic acid and lactic acid, or formulas that contain an antioxidant-rich green tea extract for extra nourishment.” 

Shop these four trichologist-rated buys…

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily